ARIZONA NEWS

Republicans in Arizona state Senate outline their 2023 legislative plan

Jan 9, 2023, 4:15 AM | Updated: 7:37 am

PHOENIX — Republicans in the Arizona state Senate distributed an outline for their 2023 plan as the majority party in both chambers of the Legislature.

It will be the first time the Legislature has had to work with a Democrat in the Governor’s office since 2008 when Janet Napolitano occupied the office.

Republicans control 16 of the 30 seats in the state Senate, which leaves little wiggle room to pass legislation via majority vote.

The GOP plan begins with a general introduction and then describes 15 areas that the caucus wishes to improve for the state.

Investments in water, border security and public safety are the first items mentioned. Tackling inflation and reducing taxes also are among topics that gained special mention.

A recent piece of legislation signed by President Joe Biden allows three Native American tribes near the Arizona-California border to lease water from the Colorado River.

The majority plan from state Republicans seeks to enhance efficiency in water usage, develop renewable water supplies and strengthen their position on continued negotiations between states on distribution of water in the Colorado River Basin.

Among the 15 topics specifically outlined in the document is disbursement of funds set for education.

Republicans acknowledged votes to increase teacher salaries by 20% in 2020 and that $1 billion in new funding was passed to increase resources for K-12 classrooms.

Their strategy in 2023 is to ensure that those sources of funding are going to the right places and impacting the students in the most positive way possible.

The caucus addresses financing in three sections of the document. It wrote paragraphs on its approach to the budget, appropriations and finance.

Senate Republicans noted that General Fund revenues increased by $5.64 billion from 2019 to 2022 but stressed it would be important to avoid overspending with the possibility of a downturn in the economy looming.

They also proposed the idea of eliminating residential rental taxes and a food tax to combat increasing prices in the rental market and at the grocery store.

Traditional Republican values are outlined in the document of limiting the size of government, tightening excess spending and reducing taxes when possible.

While officials did not outline a specific section addressing border security, they provided insights on issues that have been correlated to illegal immigration including fighting the fentanyl crisis, housing crisis and homelessness.

While the Republican’s firm grip of control at the state level took a hit with the election of Governor Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, the party still controls majorities in both chambers of the Legislature.

The party holds a 31-29 member lead in the state House.

State senators and House members earn a $24,000 annual salary with exceptions for per diems based on where the members reside.

The 2023 state Senate legislative session begins on Monday with bill requests set to expire on Jan. 17. State senators have set a deadline of Jan. 30 for final bill introductions.

Arizona Democrats planned to release their agenda for the upcoming session on Monday.

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Republicans in Arizona state Senate outline their 2023 legislative plan